The growth of the business sector in today’s world is cumulatively rapid. Globalization as we know it today has had a juggernaut impact on many areas of our lives, making the economic environment all the more challenging for everyone involved. With this arises the need for more people who have the ability to handle complex and often interrelated issues while managing and leading the growing establishments. This raises a few questions- Can anyone fulfill this role? Would he/she be a leader and/or a manger? Is there a difference between the two? Can anyone be trained to be a leader or manager? And as all questions that arise in the business world- there is no one definite answer to these questions.
A quick google search will tell you a manager is, “a person responsible for controlling or administering all or part of a company or similar organization” (Oxford Dictionaries).
An effective management and leadership involves creative problem solving, employee motivation and ensuring completion of the organization’s objectives and goals. Such management practices in place can give an edge to an organization compared to its competitors. Managing the employees is the motive of all contemporary organizations (Bushman, 2003). As the policy makers and investors of the contemporary organizations are well aware of the importance of managerial expertise in the attainment of organizational goals and for the progress of the organization (Dozier, 1995). Good management is critical to the success of businesses. Poor management affects employee morale, customer service and the quality of the goods and services provided. Which is the reason why two companies can be in the same sector but have books and profits that show dramatic differences due to the cumulative result of different managerial practices and skills promoted and exercised within the two organizations.
So, what makes a good manager?
A good manager is not afraid to get their hands dirty. Most people like to leave the nitty-gritty and tedious work to their subordinates. Good managers understand that failure in a project reflects not just on the team but the manager themselves and would deep dive and get involved with the team regardless of how mundane the task is.
A huge part of what makes a manager is realizing that the team is made up of individuals with their own personal goals and aspirations. A good manager reaches out to individuals to nurture their strengths, work on their weaknesses and grow a path for them within the organization. They recognize when their team works hard and show appreciation for such dedication outside of the usual bonuses and promotions.
The ability to delegate is one of the most important qualities of a good manager. Being able to delegate not only makes one a more effective and efficient manager but also creates a more productive team. The additional responsibilities and accountability also makes employees more motivated and empowered.
Good managers always keep their team informed of changes and updates within the company on a need to know basis. Being honest and transparent with the team instills trust and creates and open ground for healthy communication within the team.
From the age of seventeen, through various internships, short term contract jobs and now a full-time role as a Risk and Fraud Analyst with Airbnb, I myself have faced an array of managers with varying managerial and leadership styles. Out of all my personal experiences the two managers that I would pick as people who are good managers would have to be firstly my ex-manager at Uber who is the Regional Lead for Business Development and my current manager at Airbnb who is the APAC Lead for the Financial Risk Team. When asked what they think makes them a good manager here is what they both had to say.
Regional Business Development Lead, Uber: “My motto not just at work but at every aspect in my life has been- “You can get everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want. (Zig Ziglar)” As your manager and a lead for over 10 employees in my time at Uber, I always strived to help my employees excel in their career because I know that a happy person produces better results at work. My finest example would be a 20-year-old girl who landed herself a full-time job through her experience working with me at Uber as in now interviewing me on my impact on her as a good manager.”
APAC Financial Risk Lead, Airbnb: “While I wouldn’t tout myself in being the best manager there can be, a lot of being a good leader is about building a level of trust and camaraderie with the people who work for you. Because if your employees really trust in you, they will believe in your vision and run long for it.”
Considering my time of almost a year with each manager I truly can say that they have both been my personal favorite and best managers because both of them exemplify the saying that great leaders tap into employees’ desire to make a difference in the world and positively impact their communities.
“Here’s something they’ll probably never teach you in business school,” wrote Gallup CEO Jim Clifton in the summary accompanying his organization’s 2013 “State of the American Workplace” employee engagement study. “The single biggest decision you make in your job—bigger than all the rest—is who you name manager. When you name the wrong person manager, nothing fixes that bad decision. Not compensation, not benefits—nothing.”
To sum it all up, the best managers are also good leaders. Good managers should also possess the qualities of a good leader. The ability to direct, motivate, and lead is imperative to a team’s success and performance. There are many traits and characteristics that are part of this quality in a manager and they include: drive and orientation, authenticity, and effective communication. Leadership is considered the ability to guide and motivate a group of people towards a common objective or purpose. A good leader has a clear vision as well as the knowledge, commitment and ability it takes to fulfill that vision.